Helix Energy Solutions Group, Inc. v. Hewitt, 598 U.S. ___, 143 S. Ct. 677 (2023)

Oil rig worker Michael Hewitt earned over $200,000 per year but did not receive overtime compensation. Hewitt was paid on a “daily-rate” basis, i.e., Hewitt’s biweekly paycheck was calculated based on a daily rate which was multiplied by the number of days he worked during the pay period. Helix asserted that Hewitt was “a bona fide executive” and thus exempt from overtime. To meet this exemption, Helix had to show that Hewitt received a predetermined and fixed salary that does not vary based on the amount of time worked; however, Hewitt’s salary varied depending on the number of days worked. Further, although there is an exception for daily-rate highly compensated employees, this exception was not satisfied because Helix did not “guarantee” a weekly payment that bears a reasonable relationship to what Hewitt usually earns. In dissent, Justice Kavanaugh, joined by Justice Alito, argued that Helix’s daily guarantee of $963 per day to Hewitt satisfied the FLSA’s requirement of guaranteeing at least $455 per week.